A middle-aged man complains his left arm moves uncontrollably as if a demon is moving it. Is there a devil moving his arm? Or is he suffering from an illness? Yes, the man is suffering from a disease called Alien Hand Syndrome.

Alien Hand Syndrome
Alien Hand Syndrome
Image Source: https://deals.weku.io/

What is Alien Hand Syndrome?

Alien Hand Syndrome (also called AHS) is a neurological disorder characterized by the arms and hands' involuntary movements. Although it is called an abnormality in the hands, lower legs and feet can also be affected, although this is rarely the case.

The sufferer feels that his hand moves as if his hand has a mind of its control. The sufferer feels his hand is an alien. Therefore, this disorder is called Alien Hand Syndrome.

Also called Strangelove Syndrome
A 1964 comedy film about Dr. Strangelove suffers from a disruption in his arm that moves uncontrollably: therefore, AHS is also called Strangelove Syndrome.

Although alien hand syndrome is common in adults, sometimes it can also affect children. Some cases have reported that alien hand syndrome will hurt the sufferer, and even while sleeping.

What is the cause of AHS?

The cause of Alien Hand Syndrome is trauma/disorders to the brain. Because lesions in the brain make AHS cannot be cured.

Common causes of AHS include:
  • anterior cerebral artery strokes,
  • midline tumors
  • neurodegenerative illnesses.
Rarer causes of AHS include:
  • spontaneous pneumocephalus,
  • migraine aura,
  • seizure
  • Parry – Romberg Syndrome,
  • the presumed autoimmune disorder with progressive facial hemiatrophy (PFH).

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0pDitqwXMc

What are the symptoms of Alien Hand Syndrome?

Normally, arm and hand movements are influenced by conscious brain control. For example, when people want to write, the brain sends commands to the nerves and muscles around the hands to pick up a pen and then write.

Well, people who have Alien Hand Syndrome have difficulty controlling hand movements. Hands can do a task on their own without commands from the brain. In fact, contrary to what is ordered by the brain. For example, sufferers want to open the door, but sufferers even close the door.

People with the syndrome assume that the hand is not part of their limbs because they cannot control it. This is the most prominent symptom of the movable hand syndrome itself.

Can AHS be cured? And how to treat it?

Alien Hand Syndrome cannot be cured. However, the symptoms can be alleviated with alternative medical treatments. Currently, scientists are doing more research and developing alien hand syndrome.

Cognitive therapy treatment and visuospatial training are quite effective in people with AHS due to stroke. Their condition recovered during routine therapy. Unfortunately, this method is less effective in people who experience AHS due to neurodegenerative, which is more effective if treated with muscle control therapy, namely by injecting botulinum toxin (Botox) neuromuscular blocking agents.

here are some simple steps that can be taken to prevent uncontrolled hand movements:

  • Hold the hand with the other hand when it starts moving involuntarily.
  • Give the object so that the problematic hand holds the object and is prevented from moving without control.
  • Put an uncontrolled hand between the thighs as a barrier so as not to move freely.